Prodi claims Italy (welcome Libero readers)

Hot action developing out in Italy this morning with Romano Prodi claiming the electoral victory, and Silvio refusing to cede.

A warm welcome to my Italian guests from Libero, where I seem to have gotten myself picked up judging from the dozens of warm Italians stopping by : )

Elections – As tight as an be.
The World has been waiting for results, Italy itself has been on the edge and now today some movement..

AP: Final returns showed Prodi winning the lower Chamber of Deputies by one-tenth of a percentage point: 49.8 to 49.7 percent. Under Italian electoral law, 55 percent of seats are awarded to the overall winner regardless of the scale of victory, giving Prodi’s forces at least 340 seats in the 630-member lower house.

According to official returns, Berlusconi’s conservative allies held a one-seat advantage in the Senate, with 155 seats to Prodi’s 154. But with some 852 overseas precincts out of 896 reporting, returns indicated Prodi’s forces would capture another four seats, while one seat would go to Berlusconi’s allies and one to an independent party, giving Prodi the majority.

The Interior Ministry stressed that even the results it had released were provisional. It said Italy’s highest court would have to confirm the results and that parliament’s election committees would have to rule on any challenges.

Prodi has tried to reassure allies and financial markets this morning, though I’m not sure which is less appealing to both..
The fact that Prodi has won, or the fact that Italy now joins a growing number of nations clearly torn directly down the middle, with two extremes bitterly facing off. This polarization story seems to be repeating itself around the World, hopefully Italians will be able to navigate through and move forward. This one bitter going into the election, is sure to hold on to some of that bitter taste coming out. These thin margins and the obvious challenges may take some time to sort.

Israel Update
Italy’s Ambassador to Israel yesterday briefly stated that the two countries recent closer ties, and joint projects would continue in their strong spirit of friendship no matter what the election results, good news for both nations.

Update:
A kind guest has informed me that Libero is Italy’s largest Internet portal, very cool. The debate is raging regarding the left who have taken some umbrage that Italy’s issues are being discussed internationally with no understanding of Italy internally.. I’d answer that it is a global world today, and Italy is a partner in that World, denying this is folly. Italy’s economy and well being like that of France, the two nations being amongst the most important 4 in the EU are of concern to all. Nations no longer live in their own bubble, we are all intertwined whether it pleases or not.

Update II:
My Italian is a bit rusty (well other than Ciao, and Bella non existent) but what I’m understanding from google translation services of commentary around the Italian web is some general misgivings of having the vote decided by Italians living abroad and the elections results are being contested because the vote margin is appx 25,000 votes out of 38 Million cast (appx.) WOW.. That’s not just tight, it’s razor tight.

Some fascinating reading on the oversea votes is up at yahoo news via the AP

Apparently the foreign votes which flipped the win from the right to the left and decided matters are featuring what the right calls irregularities. The right for example captured 67% of North American Italian voters, but the senate seat went to Prodi because of independent parties vs coalition issues, very ugly.. 

Interesting to note that this is the first time overseas voters have been given ballots, policy until now has been similar to Israel’s with no ballots awarded to overseas Israelis in elections.

Check out the comments for the initial Italian connection, originating at: http://bloggersenzafrontiere.blogosfere.it/

It’s time to let Italy sort this one out, hopefully with a consensus!